Obama: cool under pressure

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Jessica Stillman aborda a postura cool de Obama dias antes da captura de Bin Laden, durante um jantar na Casa Branca, o mesmo evento onde apresentou a certidão de nascimento e, em tom irónico, anunciou o vídeo do seu nascimento, um excerto do filme Rei Leão.

Last weekend after giving the okay for special forces soldiers to raid a compound where the world’s most wanted man was believed to be hiding, President Obama straightened his bow tie and went off to roast Donald Trump at the White House Correspondents’ Dinner. Funny and unruffled, the President gave no indication he was feeling the strain of his momentous decision. He was, in short, a pretty cool customer.
It was an impressive display of calm under pressure and inspires the question — how does he do it? Is the ability to handle stress an innate characteristic like height or eye color, or is it something us mere mortals can learn to do too?

A citação acima transcrita resulta de um artigo How to Train Yourself to Be Cool Under Pressure onde se aborda o modo como Obama lida com momentos de pressão. No decurso do texto, Jessica Stillman referencia Justin Menkes, autor do livro Better Under Pressure.

Para Menkes a preparação é fundamental e os jovens são menos eficazes em lidar com situações mais stressantes. Para este autor ninguém nasce estrela: “Attributes have a range of genetic influence and the ability to deal with pressure is on the far side of the continuum in terms of preparation versus genetics. Your ability to deal with stress is overwhelmingly about preparation”. Até porque “You have to build inside your brain, your consciousness and your stomach a knowing that you can handle it“.

O treino, permanente

We want you to associate elevated pressure with a confidence that you can handle it, and you do that by elevating the situations of stress where there’s a risk of failure but you’re well enough prepared for it that odds are it’s going to go well. You put yourself in several of those and then you have that internal memory of ‘I can handle pressure.’ And then you keep elevating it.

Até porque tal como assinala Menkes:

“The biggest distinction in the 21st century is an ongoing elevation of pressure and complexity”.

Num outro artigo – Don’t Choke! Secrets for Performing Under Pressure – Stillman começa por descrever o estado de ansiedade que se tem em situações de pressão:

You palms sweat. Your pulse races. Your throat gets dry. You’re standing in front of a room full of people who can make or break your career, and you’re about to choke. For most people this sounds like the set-up for a terrible anxiety dream (…)

A autora procurou nas palavras de um especialista, Sian Beilock, da Universidade de Chicago algumas dicas:

First, think about what you want to say, not what you don’t want to say, because when you try not to think or do something, it is often more likely to occur. Second, know what you know. If you have memorized the introduction to your speech or what you are going to say in its entirety, just go with it and try not to think too much about every word. If you didn’t memorize it, pause before key transitions to allow yourself time to regroup. Third, remind yourself that you have the background to succeed and that you are in control of the situation.
(…) write it out. Our work shows that writing about worries and stressful events in your life can help increase “working memory” (a kind of mental scratchpad that allows us to “work” with all the information stuck in consciousness). (…) This writing doesn’t have to be long, 10 minutes before a big event or regularly for 10 minutes a week can help ensure that we make the most of the brain power we have.

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